UBC Undergraduate Research

Modelling Reductions of Carbon Emissions Under Various Scenarios of a Public Bicycle Share System Within Vancouver, BC. Elsliger, Julie; Enslow, Chelsea; Lam, Connie W.K.; Shodjai, Nur; Tuguldur, Zolzaya; Yeh, Vincent


This study estimates the impact of a public bicycle share system (PBS) in Vancouver on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction due to transportation modeswitching from fuel-propelled vehicles to bicycles. There has been little research on the potential of bicycle share systems to reduce urban carbon emissions; the results of this study contextualize the effectiveness of a bicycle share system as a potential greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy. From our research and survey results we formulated a numerical model, which was used to approximate the magnitude of carbon dioxide emissions reduction (tonnes per year) as a result of the implementation of a PBS in Vancouver. Our numerical model incorporates significant variables --such as season (precipitation) and the current law in British Columbia requiring cyclists to wear a helmet-- which significantly impact the use of a PBS within Vancouver. The model domain considers a limited geographical area within the City of Vancouver. A survey (sample size 231) was conducted in the chosen domain to provide input data for the numerical model, information about citizens’ preferences and concerns, and to gain valuable information pertaining to the potential success of a PBS in Vancouver. The projected CO2 emissions reduction ranged from 820 to 990 tonnes CO2 per year depending on the modelled scenario. The results of this study indicate that the potential of CO2 emissions reduction from mode-switching resulting from the use of a PBS in Vancouver is 0.07% potential minimum to 0.14% potential maximum of total annual transportation emissions within the City of Vancouver. Thus, a bicycle share system may be more effectively marketed as a strategy for increasing physical activity and improving the population’s health and lifestyle rather than a strategy, which mainly focuses on reducing CO2 emissions.

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